The First Days of School: 5 Tips to Starting Off Right
The first day of school is fun and exciting for students and parents. But for many kids, starting school can be a stressful and challenging time. A child may have an especially difficult time if she is attending a new school.
To start the school year off on the right track, I offer parents, children and teachers these five tips for school success.
School Success Tip #1 – Do Something for your Child to Celebrate the Start of a New School Year
To start the school year off on the right foot, parents can give their child a special back to school gift. Some thoughtful gift ideas are a unique bookmark to use in her school books, a fabulous journal, or a a distinctive pen or pencil for writing often mean the world to a child. Another great idea is to write your daughter a letter or poem that she can read on her first day of school. Here are 10 great ideas to help you write your child a special first day of school poem.
Parents can take the start of school gift idea to the next level and get their child started blogging. Blogger is free, but if you really want to jazz up the gift it is affordable to have a custom design created and installed. Blogging is a great way to encourage a kid to begin writing about her thoughts and feelings and openly sharing them (appropriately) with others. Custom designs can cost as little as $50 and a simple search on Google will turn up all sorts of talented and affordable designers.
Tip #2 – Stress Relievers
Children need to learn stress management tools so that they can maintain a healthy balance in their day. A few simple activities for managing stress are drawing, physical exercise, play, dance or singing. Or, parents might just give their child a great big hug and treat her to a special night of quality parent-child time together.
It is vital to teach kids that by handling stress positively we can live better and enjoy greater success in every area of our lives, including school.
Tip #3 – Monitor Child’s Behavior and Encourage Self Care
A major contributor to a child’s learning and school success is helping children learn to identify when they are feeling overwhelmed, worn out or in need of rejuvenation. Behaviors such as losing one’s temper, overreacting or disinterest in one’s favorite hobbies indicate a need for self care.
Self-care is taking actions with the intention of improving or restoring one’s mental and emotional health. Some people also call this “Me Time”. Whatever you call it, children can practice activities that will restore balance and wellness to their day.
A wonderful example of a self care activity for kids is to play games outdoors. By doing so children will get exercise, use their imaginations, benefit from playing with friends, and regain a sense of balance.
Tip #4 – Journal Keeping: A Great Tool for Overcoming Fears
Returning to school can present a child with fears, such as fear of making new friends, being accepted, liking the teacher(s), being successful, and the threat of bullies are common. Kids need to know how to deal with these fears if not overcome them.
One of my favorite solutions to overcoming personal fears and anxiety is journal keeping. Journaling and expressing fears with the written word has been proven to be helpful for children in overcoming their worst fears and anxieties. When a child keeps a journal, she is able to record her feelings about events in her life and work through those negative feelings related to those events. This is an especially useful tool to use before the start of school and throughout the entire school year.
There are many writing journals for kids, and I suggest that you choose a special one that suits your child’s personality to help her begin a wonderful journal writing adventure. Of course, you could always have your daughter (or son) simply use a notebook or create a brilliant homemade journal together.
Below I offer a listing of my favorite back to school journal prompts for kids that you may use with your child to help her as she starts a new school year. Share these journaling writing ideas with your child and ask her if she is willing to share her responses with you. If she says yes, great. If she says no, respect her privacy.
First Day of School Writing Ideas
- What excites you most about starting school?
- Do you have concerns about beginning school? What are they?
- What do you like the best about school and why?
- What do you like the least and why?
- How do you feel about your new teachers(s)?
- Are there worries you have about starting school?
- Do you feel comfortable beginning school? Would you like to take a tour of it (again) or go over your schedule? Is there anything else you need to make the experience more enjoyable?
- Is there a friend or a buddy you can count on to help you through the first week of school? Explain who and why.
- Are there ideas you’d like to share about how to make your new school year the best that it can be?
Here’s to a spectacular new school year for your wonderful child!
Award-Winning Author of the Family Friendly Journal Buddies Books. Available from Amazon.com.